If you ended your holiday weekend feeling like you weigh double your size, regardless of what you ate, you are not alone.
Just spending an entire day dedicated to the activity of eating was enough for me to feel like a whale.
At the end of the day, I lay in bed and promised myself I would work out the next day for double the amount of time I usually do. Being someone who used to suffer from Exercise Bulimia, this thought was like a huge red flag, telling me to slow the fuck down a minute.
I stopped and asked myself, did I actually eat more than I usually do in a full day, calorie-wise? Or did I just eat such a big meal on Thanksgiving that I'd convinced myself I'd eaten more than I normally do in a day?
Being as thorough and honest as I could be, I entered my daily caloric intake into my calorie counting app. Surprisingly, I found I had only eaten 200 calories more than I do on a usual day.
This didn't take away the feeling of being bloated, but it did show me that feelings are not facts... at least, not at first. However, saying you feel fat can actually become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In fact, a Florida State College of Medicine study released last year showed teenagers with a normal BMI who perceived themselves as fat were 40 percent more likely to become obese as adults.
This is because people who perceive themselves as fat are more likely to engage in behaviors, like extreme dieting, exercise binging and laxative consumption, which have been linked to more weight gain.
In other words, the only thing our bodies have to fear -- is fear itself.
If you expect to feel fat over the holidays or expect to gain weight, you'll convince yourself that it's already happening, and may try to overcompensate with dieting behaviors that can cause more weight gain by slowing the metabolism.
So this holiday season, instead of looking in the mirror expecting to see an overweight Bilbo Baggins staring back at you, maybe a better approach would be not to stare so long and hard at yourself.
Stay as active as you usually do, enjoy the food, enjoy your life. Because there's beauty in this news: If you can think yourself into gaining weight, you can think yourself into loving your body, too, no matter what your shape is.
Remember readers: You can choose to accept and love your body, or you can choose to criticize it. It really is that simple.